In a recent article on SmallBizDaily, Ronald Dod dove into a discussion regarding whether it’s easier to generate traffic via paid ads or organic SEO.
By Stewart Dunlop
As Dod explains, organic methods certainly can be effective – as long as you have a decent amount of time and energy to invest into inbound initiatives, such as content marketing. Dod also mentions that, while paid ads may be enough to attract a potential lead to your website, your blog and the other informational content you offer are typically what will get them to stick around – and to come back later on.
To be clear, a ton of data points echo this sentiment:
- Demand Metric found that content marketing is 62% cheaper than outbound methods
- Kapost discovered that companies that focus on generating organic traffic over other means see six times the amount of conversions as their competitors
- Impact reports that companies that use blogs as a lead-generating tool generate 126% more leads than those that do not
Now, as Dod alludes to, you’re not going to experience the above results overnight; really, there’s no guarantee you’ll experience these results at all.
However, a strategic and purposeful approach to your content creation initiatives will not only increase the amount of leads you generate – but also enhance the quality of the leads you generate, as well.
Three Main Principles of Creating Content to Generate Leads
In this article, we’re going to look at the overarching principles of generating leads for your business via blogging and creating related informational content.
By digging into these main facets, our goal is to provide a foundation on which you can begin to grow a following of engaged readers who quickly become loyal, long-time customers.
Let’s get started.
Create Intriguing and Engaging Content
You probably don’t need us to tell you that the content you create needs to be informative, interesting, and valuable in order for it to work as a lead-generation tool.
Oddly enough, this is where many companies miss the mark. While most understand the importance of creating valuable content, many neglect to realize that the content needs to be valuable in the eyes of their audience in order to generate a buzz.
Simply put: it’s essential that you have your target audience in mind at all times when developing a content strategy and creating the content within.
First things first, you need to know what your target audience is dying to know and/or learn (as well as what you can teach them). There are a number of ways to do so, such as:
- Mining social media pages and other online communities for conversations revolving around your industry
- Using tools such as Moz and Buzzsumo to gauge interest in specific topics
- Surveying your current customer base for information regarding how your company might be able to provide additional assistance to them
Now, no matter what topics you come up with to write about, you’ll almost certainly find that other companies in your industry have already done so. In order to stand out, then, the content you create will need to be different (read: better) in one way or another. Some common ways to improve on already-existing content include:
- Being more thorough and up-to-date
- Providing more illustrative examples and explanations of complex topics
- Tailoring the content to a laser-focused audience
In addition to knowing what content your target audience is currently looking for, you also want to know what they’ll be ready to learn after they’ve digested your initial blog posts. Remember: your goal isn’t to simply get them to read and appreciate your content; it’s to use your content as a catalyst to create deeper engagement.
With that in mind, let’s discuss how, exactly, to create this engagement.
As we just alluded to, if your blog isn’t actually generating engagement, there’s almost no point in it existing in the first place.
This is another issue that plagues many – if not most – content creators. As far as blogging and content marketing goes, perhaps the only thing worse than generating little to no traffic is generating a decent amount of traffic – but seeing little to no increase in conversions.
While there are any number of reasons for such a discrepancy to occur, it’s typically due to one of two missteps on the part of the content creator.
First, if you don’t explicitly request or prompt your reader to take further action, they almost certainly aren’t going to take it upon themselves to do so. Even if they thoroughly enjoyed your content – and learned a ton from it – there’s a good chance they’ll simply go on with their day without engaging further with your company.
With that in mind, you’ll want to provide numerous calls to action throughout your content, and especially as you wrap up each article. You might request that they follow your brand on social media, share an article with their network, or simply leave a comment or question regarding the content of the article in question. Or, you might offer additional content related to the topic at hand in exchange for the reader’s contact information (we’ll talk more about this in the next section).
Overall, the goal of your CTAs is to get your readers actively engaged with your content in some way, rather than passively taking it in and moving on with their life.
Now, once an individual does take the action you’ve suggested, it’s your responsibility to follow up with them in a timely and authentic manner. For example, if they leave a comment or question on your blog post, be sure to respond to it in full. If they share your content on their social media pages, a simple “Thank You” can go a long way in terms of forging an authentic relationship with them.
Essentially, you want to show your new readers that you’re willing to engage with them on a deeper level – and you’re dedicated to doing so in way that’s convenient for them. Often times, the quality of this initial back-and-forth is what transforms a mere passerby into a fully-qualified lead – and more.
Provide Additional Value
As we mentioned in the previous section, while your blog’s content may be enough to attract new readers to your website, this content likely won’t be enough on its own to get them to forge a deeper relationship with your company.
To get your readers to commit to a deeper relationship with your brand (i.e., to the point that you truly consider them a lead), you need to offer additional value to them. This means you’ll need to develop even more valuable content for them to digest along their journey toward becoming a paying customer.
This content might include:
- Instructional videos
- Case studies and testimonials
- White papers
With this content, you can provide a much deeper look into the value your brand offers your interested readers.
Unlike with your blog content (which you give away with no strings attached), however, you want to get something from your readers in exchange for this more valuable content. You’ll want to provide a lead capture form for your readers to fill out, typically including a field for their name and email address. You’ll also want to explain that the reader can opt to subscribe to your mailing list in addition receiving the content in question – in turn allowing you to maintain contact with your new lead as time goes on.
In addition to creating more and deeper content for your readers, you might also choose to repurpose your currently-existing blog content into various other forms.
A few examples:
- A listicle could be made into an infographic
- A step-by-step article could be made into a video (complete with a visual representation of each step)
- A blog series could be combined into a single ebook or PDF document
Again, you’d want to provide a form for your readers to fill out in a similar way to the above-mentioned method. However, when repurposing content, you want to create a squeeze page or lightbox overlay focused specifically on the content in question. So, for example, if you decide to offer a series of articles as a single ebook, you’d want to create a popup form which you’d display to your visitors as they read through the articles in question.
Whether providing new content to further your audience’s knowledge, or translating your current content into a format that’s more convenient for certain readers, you’ll inherently be providing additional value to those who are most interested in engaging further with your brand. And, since you’ll merely be asking for their email address in return, those who are prepared to take a deeper dive into your brand’s offerings will be more than happy to provide it to you.
The beauty of content marketing is that it is, at its core, a creative venture that is ever-evolving.
That said, there are a seemingly infinite number of ways in which to approach the process of generating leads through blogging.
No matter what specific tactics you use, though, the fundamentals remain the same:
- Attract your audience with valuable content
- Engage with the individuals your content attracts
- Provide additional value to those who are most interested in what you have to offer
As long as you keep these facets in mind, your blog will continue to be a source of high-quality leads for a long time to come.